US giant GE Capital Information Technology Solutions has finally acquired Skillgroup's P&P desktop business for #11.5 million plus net assets of #100,000, giving the latter a long-awaited opportunity to exit the reseller business.
As revealed exclusively in PC Dealer seven months ago, the US reseller will also assume P&P's existing bank debt of #15 million.
Despite expectations within the channel that GE would purchase P&P, Jeremy Golding, GE UK chief executive, refused to acknowledge that the deal was long overdue. 'We think the deal was closed pretty quickly. Really the whole process intensified in November and December, since myself and Mike (Ford, GE European chief executive) came on board,' he said.
However, it was felt that after former European chief Jost Stollman quit in October 1997, when the US firm had no CEO for Europe or the UK, it had caused a time delay.
Mike Lunch, director of IBM personal systems group, expressed the manufacturer's support. 'The GE bid had been slow to take off in the UK because the rate of takeovers elsewhere had slowed it down.'
The move has also sparked speculation that the balance of power within UK resellers was set to shift as GE raises its profile. However, Computacenter CEO Mike Norris said: 'It is still only a fifth the size of Computacenter - 25 per cent tops.'
He acknowledged the GE was gaining ground in Europe but insisted it was better to judge progress on a national level. 'If the balance does change so that a Europe-wide model is important, then we will have to reassess.
But the question is, can GE grow organically?'
Contingency plans follow Carillion's demise earlier this year
Oliver Tuszik says partners can boost subscription sales by taking a customer experience-led approach
Firm says enterprise business has performed 'weaker than originally expected'
Top executives from nine VARs, including Computacenter, Bell Integration, XMA, ANS and Epaton, weigh in on which server, storage and networking technologies will be red hot next year